Heating oil grant may be offered

The government is examining the possibility of offering low-income earners a grant for heating oil as rising fuel prices threaten to leave some of the country’s residents in the cold this winter. Questioned yesterday on the possibility of such relief being offered, Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas said that the state is looking into all its options. Heating oil this winter is expected to be sold at more than 0.60 euros per liter, compared with 0.46 euros last winter. Rising international oil prices have failed to show any sign of easing after crude hit $70 per barrel yesterday. Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis also hinted that the state may proceed with such a step by saying that the government is looking to determine what extra weight the budget can lift. The rise in petrol costs is also hurting Greece’s inflation data. Experts estimate that if petrol prices were at last year’s levels, then the consumer price index would be at about 2.8 percent, rather than the current 3.8 to 3.9 percent level.